Alternative splicing and allosteric regulation modulate the chromatin binding of UHRF1

by Maria Tauber, Sarah Kreuz, Alexander Lemak, Papita Mandal, Zhadyra Yerkesh, Alaguraj Veluchamy, Bothayna Al-Gashgari, Abrar Aljahani, Lorena V Cortés-Medina, Dulat Azhibek, Lixin Fan, Michelle S Ong, Shili Duan, Scott Houliston, Cheryl H Arrowsmith, Wolfgang Fischle
Year: 2020 DOI:

Extra Information

 2020 Aug 20;48(14):7728-7747./doi: 10.1093/nar/gkaa520.


UHRF1 is an important epigenetic regulator associated with apoptosis and tumour development. It is a multidomain protein that integrates readout of different histone modification states and DNA methylation with enzymatic histone ubiquitylation activity. Emerging evidence indicates that the chromatin-binding and enzymatic modules of UHRF1 do not act in isolation but interplay in a coordinated and regulated manner. Here, we compared two splicing variants (V1, V2) of murine UHRF1 (mUHRF1) with human UHRF1 (hUHRF1). We show that insertion of nine amino acids in a linker region connecting the different TTD and PHD histone modification-binding domains causes distinct H3K9me3-binding behaviour of mUHRF1 V1. Structural analysis suggests that in mUHRF1 V1, in contrast to V2 and hUHRF1, the linker is anchored in a surface groove of the TTD domain, resulting in creation of a coupled TTD-PHD module. This establishes multivalent, synergistic H3-tail binding causing distinct cellular localization and enhanced H3K9me3-nucleosome ubiquitylation activity. In contrast to hUHRF1, H3K9me3-binding of the murine proteins is not allosterically regulated by phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate that interacts with a separate less-conserved polybasic linker region of the protein. Our results highlight the importance of flexible linkers in regulating multidomain chromatin binding proteins and point to divergent evolution of their regulation.